The Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals officially joined forces Jan. 1, creating the largest animal protection organization in the United States. And with a combined budget exceeding $95 million for 2005, it is also the wealthiest.
The merger was announced Nov. 22, 2004—50 years to the day that the HSUS began operations in Washington, D.C. The organizations' boards of directors, which combined to operate as one, unanimously approved the merger during a series of meetings in 2004.
"By combining resources, the new entity will bring unprecedented energy to the battles we take on," said HSUS Board Chair David O. Wiebers, MD. "This union ushers in a whole new era of strengthened activism for animals."
The HSUS brings eight million members and constituents, a 2004 budget of $82 million, and more than $100 million in assets. The Fund brings 200,000 members and constituents, a 2004 budget of $7 million, and $20 million in assets. Washington, D.C., will remain the base of operations for the combined organization.
HSUS and the Fund plan to operate their advocacy programs under the banner of the HSUS, building a new external affairs department to focus on such issues as fur, sport hunting, intensive farming, and animal cruelty, including staged animal fighting. These goals will be pursued through investigations, litigation, communications, and campaigning.
Jonathan Lovvorn will head the new Animal Protection Litigation section that will focus on enforcement of animal protection laws. Several additional litigators will be added to the new section by year's end.
The groups have also launched a new 501(c)(4) political organization, the HSUS Fund for Animals, to augment existing public policy work and allow for a more substantial investment of resources in political and lobbying activities.
"The new political arm will enable us to expand our public policy work, enlarge our network of trained activists, and level the playing field with the industries that promote and condone cruelty to animals," said Michael Markarian, president of the Fund.
The Fund will continue as a direct animal care organization. Moreover, the organization's animal care facilities in Texas, California, and South Carolina will be coordinated with the HSUS's animal care programs in Massachusetts and Dallas, along with the HSUS Rural Area Veterinary Services program.
Additionally, the Fund's flagship animal sanctuary, Black Beauty Ranch, will be renamed the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch to memorialize the organization's founder.
HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle said, "Our goal is nothing short of a kinder society, where compassionate individuals join with us to ensure that animals are not abused either in random acts of cruelty or in institutional settings, such as industrial factory farms."